The Best Deck That Wasn’t Played

The Drampa GX (Guardians Rising, 115/145) Garbodor (Guardians Rising, 51/145) combo known commonly as Grampa went MIA last weekend in London.  I know that it has tailed off in usage since its massive debut in Seattle, but I really find it hard to believe that it only managed to get to fifteenth in London.  I know that Buzzwole GX (Crimson Invasion, 104/111) scared a lot of people off because of Drampa’s weakness to Fighting, and I know that the general feeling in the game right now is that meta decks aren’t running as many Item cards.  I disproved the latter a little bit in an analysis I did the other day that showed that the top eight decks in London ran only about ten percent less items (1.5 to 2 Items less per deck) than the top eight from NAIC and Worlds.  Buzzwole GX did have a very strong showing with two top eight placements and three in the top ten, so peace – if you decided not to play Drampa GX because you thought London would be infested with oversized, muscle bound mosquito like things, you guessed right.

I even had a conversation with someone I highly respect (and know is a better player than I am) who believes that Grampa has fallen to a Tier 2 status.  Honestly, that shocks me.  Granted, the deck lost Team Magma’s Secret Base (Double Crisis, 32/34), but it got Po Town (Burning Shadows, 121/147) which might work better since it doesn’t put any damage counters on Drampas or Tapu Lele GX’s (Guardians Rising, 60/145) that you put down on your bench.  But it really didn’t lose anything else.

I hadn’t played the deck since I did an analysis back in August comparing two Grampa decks – one with Enhanced Hammer (Guardians Rising, 124/145) and one without – to see which deck did better (Teaser: you can bet that I’m doing that analysis again this weekend.  Maybe not with Grampa, but expect to see an article on E Hammers next week).  I didn’t play it at all in September and October.  I knew the deck was still top tier, I didn’t need to spend any time with it to remind myself of its dominance.

So I pulled Grampa out of the mothballs, dusted it off, gave it a couple of new upgrades, and rolled it out there to see how it did.

It took me about four matches to realize that this deck is definitely still a Tier 1 deck.  I promise you that there are people last weekend who played Zoroark GX (Shining Legends, 53/73) with [fill in the blank] or the Metal Toolbox concoction who would have done better had they stuck to their Grampa decks.  Garbotoxin completely shuts down Trade.  No Stand In either.  Secret Spring becomes Secret Sprung.  No Abyssal Hand, no Instruct, no Steam Ups.  And don’t tell me that your two Field Blowers (Guardians Rising, 125/145) are enough (I think Tord’s list was the only list with four) because I run four Float Stones (Breakthrough, 137/162).  I’ve said forever that if you run an ability dependent deck – and ninety percent of the decks I come across on PTCGO carry at least one Pokemon with an ability in their deck – you need to run four Leaf Blowers

I won the first ten matches that I played with this decklist:

##Pokémon - 14

* 4 Drampa-GX GRI 115
* 2 Tapu Lele-GX GRI 60
* 4 Trubbish BKP 56
* 2 Garbodor GRI 51
* 2 Garbodor BKP 57

##Trainer Cards - 34

* 4 Professor Sycamore STS 114
* 1 Gladion CIN 95
* 3 Hala GRI 126
* 1 Rescue Stretcher GRI 130
* 2 Acerola BUS 112
* 1 Lusamine CIN 110
* 2 Enhanced Hammer GRI 124
* 4 Po Town BUS 121
* 2 Choice Band GRI 121
* 1 Skyla BKP 122
* 1 Brigette BKT 134
* 2 Guzma BUS 115
* 4 Ultra Ball SUM 135
* 2 Field Blower GRI 125
* 4 Float Stone BKT 137

##Energy - 12

* 4 Double Colorless Energy EVO 90
* 8 Psychic Energy SUM 162

Five of the ten matches were against meta decks (Zoroark GX, 2 Gardy, Metal Toolbox, and Greninja).  I know that this is not a traditional meta decklist.  In case you haven’t read any of my ramblings in the past, I don’t play N (Fates Collide, 105/124) (I’ll probably post my analysis on that before too long).

It runs a number of Supporters that you won’t find in any top eight decklists either, and I carry four Drampa because I really want to start with it.  I want to rock that Big Wheel GX turn one so every time I play a Sycamore or Hala after that I’m getting seven cards.

Overall, I wound up 16 W and 6 L with this list, 10 W and 5 L against meta decks.  I played five meta decks out of the ten I matches I played on the first night (November 21) and then ten meta decks in the twelve matches I played on the second night (November 22).  Both of these nights saw a significantly higher rate of meta decks – including the past two nights, only 34% of the decks I face on PTCGO would be meta decks this month.  About 48% of the decks I faced in September were meta, and that number plummeted to 38% in October, so I was glad to see so many more meta decks… and that Grampa did so well against the top tier decks.  Below is the list of matches I played.

As Mark Twain once said, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”  So too, the idea that Grampa has lost its status as a highly competitive deck.